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San Diego Community College District announces nursing assistant program for San Diego Unified students

San Diego’s two largest educational institutions are coming together, tonight, for a joint meeting that will impact high school students across the County. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez tells us more.

San Diego’s two largest educational institutions held their annual joint meeting Tuesday at the Logan Memorial Educational Campus.

The governing boards for San Diego Unified School District and the San Diego Community College District are meeting to discuss partnerships and collaborative programs through the 2027 school year.

One new partnership starting June 13 will allow high school students to earn a nursing assistant credential. That program is currently at the San Diego College of Continuing Education's Cesar Chavez campus in Barrio Logan. It's offered in two sessions that run either 8 or 16 weeks.


Serena Espinosa and Jonatan Guerrero are in the program. They graduated from high school just before the pandemic shut down the world and their hopes for a career.

“Oh yeah, absolutely 100%! I had a straight path that I was going to do nursing and work at the same time, because the job I had was so lenient," Espinosa said. She was working at a restaurant at that time before it permanently closed.

Espinosa was forced to find another job, and she hopes to complete her nursing assistant certification this spring.

Guerrero graduated from San Diego High School and was rejected in his initial application to the nursing program at San Diego City College.

The nursing assistant program was his backup plan. “At first I just took it as a way to get into the City College nursing program. But now that I’m here, it’s a really valuable experience to see what the actual field is going to be.”

M.G. Perez
Students work with classmates and mannequins in the nursing assistant certification program at the San Diego College of Continuing Education, San Diego, Calif., March 20, 2023.

That valuable experience in becoming a nursing assistant is now offered to eligible high school students from San Diego Unified. Upon program completion, those students will be able to apply to the state Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) examination.